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Old 07-03-2011, 02:55   #1
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Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and Back into the Med

Were a youngish couple (25/28) underway in our circumnavigation and looking to be in Sri Lanka in October after sailing through Indonesia. Since the recent and ongoing turmoil in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aidan it does not seam wise or feasible to transit through the Red Sea into the Med.

SO, Plan B. Around the Cape of Good Hope, Now that the decision seams to have been made for us I am excited to head down to the Southern Ocean, see Africa and explore the coast and have the experience of rounding the Cape.

Now the sail doesn't look very hard heading down and around the Cape as in January through to March there seems to be an easterly flow under the Cape and moderate weather systems off Madagascar, please correct me if I am wrong. I have heard about strong currents around the lower east coast of Africa, and that these can either work for or against you.

But the problem seams to be once you get up the west coast of Africa to Dakar through to Gibraltar the north easterly winds seem to be intense all year round more so in winter.

I am wondering if anyone knows of any information that could be helpful in our crusade, or has anyone on here done the trip, is there a weather pattern in the Atlantic that is used for this trip. Websites, books to buy and opinions will be most helpful.

Thanks John

weather info was sourced mainly off Climatology of Global Ocean Winds - COGOW
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Old 11-03-2011, 16:40   #2
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and back into the Med

Anyone help?? is there another thread about the west coast of africa?
cheers
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Old 11-03-2011, 16:50   #3
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and back into the Med

The normal route is from Capetown to ST Helena to Ascension to Fernando de Noronha to (say) Antigua. The sailing is wonderful.

Some people do go cruise up the west coast a ways instead of leaving from Capetown, and some people spend some time in Brazil instead of moving right along to the caribbean.
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Old 11-03-2011, 17:21   #4
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and back into the Med

Hi John,

You are in for a treat. Some of our absolute favorite destinations from our circumnav are in the Indian. The Andamans, Chagos and Madagascar are amazing. Sri Lanka and the Seychelles, less so, but you wouldn't go to the latter now anyway. Details from our trip across the North Indian and around South Africa and north can be found in our blog.

We did not visit Namibia on the way to St. Helena, but several friends did. Riding the current north made for an easy, if foggy trip to Walvis Bay. While in St. Helena we met a boat returning to Europe. They continued on to Ascension (which is definitely worth a stop) before cracking east towards the Azores in late March. Enroute from Ascension to the Azores they ran into some very strong breeze. The more typical pattern for returning to Europe seems to be to spend a season in the Caribbean before heading home.

Do you have a copy of Jimmy Cornell's World Cruising Routes? It would help with your passage planning.

Cheers,
Danika
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Old 11-03-2011, 20:38   #5
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and Back into the Med

The Atlantic side is easy - sail from Africa to the West Indies then onwards to Europe.

On the Indian side you have to be careful especially on the stretch from Reunion (or whatever your depart point is) and onwards to RSA. It is often OK to the S of the Madagascar and then you are out of the tradewinds and into more variable weather. There is a strong (very strong) current along RSA coast and passage of low pressure cells and associated fronts can kick up very nasty conditions on the last 300 miles or so.

Time your arrival in RSA so that you avoid the Indian hurricanes but also the winter storms at RSA coast.

b.
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Old 11-03-2011, 22:15   #6
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and Back into the Med

Thanks very much guys, Danika that looks like an amazing sail up to St. Helena/ Ascension/Azores and they look awesome. Your blog looks very detailed to I am going to go through it tonight when I have more time. Also I have just purchased the Jimmy Cornell book aswel it will be invaluable for future planning.

Barnakeil, do you think it in prominent to leave Madagascar before November? I noticed Mata'iria left in October. I was looking to spend christmas NYE in Sri Lanka then start heading down. Plan can change though, I am just starting my research on the southern indian ocean.
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Old 11-03-2011, 22:46   #7
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and Back into the Med

You may want to get info from this site re: westing around CGH; as well as make contact with this couple. Great information and they are fantastic sailors.
Beth & Evans
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Old 12-03-2011, 01:43   #8
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and Back into the Med

Good site, thanks.
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Old 12-03-2011, 04:03   #9
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and Back into the Med

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jdiamond View Post
Thanks very much guys, Danika that looks like an amazing sail up to St. Helena/ Ascension/Azores and they look awesome. Your blog looks very detailed to I am going to go through it tonight when I have more time. Also I have just purchased the Jimmy Cornell book aswel it will be invaluable for future planning.

Barnakeil, do you think it in prominent to leave Madagascar before November? I noticed Mata'iria left in October. I was looking to spend christmas NYE in Sri Lanka then start heading down. Plan can change though, I am just starting my research on the southern indian ocean.
south indian ocean cyclone season is very active from november till april,especially off the east coast of madagasgar and mozambique channel.

timing is very important if doing the trans equitorial route,as the cyclone season starts in the n indian ocean in april- may-june then again in october- november.

october is the optimum time for leaving the moz channel or mauritius reunion for durban richards bay.

the traditional route for departures from thailand via sri lanka is dec jan,then chagos in march,then wait there till end of april before heading to mada or mauritius.

alternatively backtracking from thailand via sumatra and heading s in may,via cocos keeling.
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Old 12-03-2011, 06:19   #10
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and Back into the Med

See also Tony Herrick’s Southern Africa Cruising Notes
Cruising Connections for new and used paper marine navigation charts, cruising guides and passage planning notes, pilots, flags, sailing books and marine ebooks .
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Old 12-03-2011, 07:33   #11
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and Back into the Med

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Originally Posted by Jdiamond View Post

Barnakeil, do you think it in prominent to leave Madagascar before November? I noticed Mata'iria left in October. I was looking to spend christmas NYE in Sri Lanka then start heading down. Plan can change though, I am just starting my research on the southern indian ocean.
I am perplexed, as you say "Christmas in Sri Lanka...", then to me it seems you have nearly a year to lay out the passage and reach you jump off point in S Indian.

In any case, we sailed Reunion to Richards Bay in November and in that year it was about average - we saw boats going and coming both before and after us. However, about two weeks after our arrival there was the first hurricane that gave a good dose of adrenaline to those who sailed afterwards.

It is essential that you understand the difference between the averages as expressed in Pilot Charts, Pub. 136, or Cornell's book AND the actual weather in any given year. One year the season can be early, at other times it can be late. So do the general planning with a good reference in hand but sail only according to actual weather and with good weather awareness. If you can have some sort of weather support on the go, it is always a good thing. RSA sends out wefax and you can get gribs via sat or ssb link. Otherwise, you can ask a friend onshore to forward the weather via a sat phone, if you have one.

You will find another thread here on the Forum with pretty much up to date discussion of the Indian part.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:28   #12
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and Back into the Med

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But the problem seams to be once you get up the west coast of Africa to Dakar through to Gibraltar the north easterly winds seem to be intense all year round more so in winter.
You have gotten comments on the S Africa portion but not much on this N Atlantic portion, and you are correct it poses a problem.

There three alternatives:

1. The easiest but longest is what most above have mentioned - going to the caribbean and then the Azores and then into the med. This route circles the Azores high in the correct direction with reaching/following winds all the way. And the stops along the way are interesting and attractive, but it is a lot of extra miles if really you just want to get into the Med.

2. The middle route is to go to St Helena, by the way, one of our all time favorite stops, (or up the African coast) and then basically sail due north to the Cape Verdes. You will most likely be able to make them with only a 100 miles or so of headwinds, but you will probably have a quite large doldrums zone to cross so either need to be patient sailors or carry some extra fuel. Then from The Cape Verdes you continue to sail basically due north, on a very close reach heading roughly toward the Azores. When you get to about 35N you can (hopefully) tack over and lay Gib on again a very close reach. This is quite a bit of close reaching sailing on relatively long legs offshore and I would only recommend it if your boat likes that point of sail (many old British designs love it).

3. The eastern route is as above to the Cape Verdes (or Dakar) and then beat to the Canaries and then beat the Gib. This is a difficult, dead upwind route pretty much all year. The people we know who have done this route have been on bigger boats and motor sailed for most of it. There is wind and it can be done under sail, playing the wind shifts, but you would have to have a boat set up (unlike most cruising boats) to make decent upwind VMG into offshore waves - no extra windage (solar panels or wind gens or other junk) on deck and good sails and a clean bottom.

To generalize our firends routes . . . Those in no hurry took #1, the Europeans in a hurry took #2, and the deliveries of bigger boats with large fuel capacity took #3.
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Old 12-03-2011, 10:48   #13
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Re: Dodge Pirates, Round the Cape and Back into the Med

i have sailed ersatzingers route #3,leaving cape town in april,good se winds to st helena,then se'lies till equator,heading for cape verdes,then motor sailing 5 days to mindanao cape verdes,then 12 days motor sailing into 15- 20 knot ne'lies to funchal madiera.

then waited for a westerly into strs of gib from funchal,arrived early june,yacht was a 35 ft fisher type with 43 hp engine,ave 110 miles per day,used about 1000liters of fuel,or 20 days motoring for the trip.
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